Margaret Carrero

Trump Admin Threatening to Cut Millions in Federal Aid for Fire Depts in CA

May 20, 2019 - 8:30 am

(KNX 1070) - The Trump Administration is threatening to cut millions of dollars in federal aid for fire departments in California.

The US Forest Service says that the state is over-billing for help under an agreement signed in 2015.

But the Cal Fire chief disputes that and says the extra cash is vital to deal with what looks like will be another brutal wildfire season.

Cal Fire battalion chief Amy Head says the agency continues to prepare for another brutal fire season:

"People are really starting to get the message. When you do hear about red flag warning or a fire weather watch, those are things that you really need to take seriously, as seriously as a tornado or hurricane warning," she said.

The disagreement between state and federal fire threatens to upend negotiations to extend the cost-sharing agreement beyond 2020.

The chief of Cal Fire is blasting the Trump Administration for a plan to slash federal payments to help in tackling wildfires. 

California Senator Dianne Feinstein is now involved in the dispute, sending a letter to the Forest Service saying the Feds should delay any changes to payments as the state faces another year of significant wildfire risk.